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Participation Trophies: Pros and Cons

When hosting an awards ceremony, one of the biggest decisions you need to make is how many awards to give out. Should trophies be reserved for only the first, second and third place in each category? The top 10? Or maybe everyone should receive a trophy? Here, trophy suppliers give you some tips about participation trophies.

While it can be a nice gesture to give all participants some sort of award, there are certain factors that should be taken into consideration.


  • Everyone Feels Included – When handing out participation trophies, for sports, cultural or corporate awards, no one feels left out, and everyone feels like a part of the team. This creates good morale and shows that organisers value everyone who took part, and not just the top achievers.
  • Participants Have a Keepsake of Your Event/ Company – Giving participation trophies gives your contestants and contributors something to take home with them and remember your event by. If branded, these trophies could be a form of free advertising!


  • Undermines the Winner’s Achievement- Put yourself in the winner’s shoes. It puts a bit of a dampener on your success if every single contestant is given a trophy. It makes you wonder why you put in so much effort if you could have slacked and received the same award.
  • Does not Challenge Participants- If you know in advance that you will receive a trophy or award no matter how successful you are, you are more than likely not to try too hard. No matter what category your awards ceremony falls under, you want to push your contestants to do their very best, and awarding top achievers creates an incentive.


If you are wanting to include participation trophies for all or most participants, one way to ensure that the champions still feel like champions is to have larger prizes and awards for the winners, while all other participants receive a smaller token.

Looking for the perfect corporate awards, participation trophies, medals or metal cups for your awards ceremony? Trophies & Engravers, trophy suppliers, have one of the widest online selections in South Africa. We pride ourselves in our custom designs and ever-friendly service. Feel free to contact us with your unique trophy needs!

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